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An old meme becomes new again with a URL shortener that sometimes results in a Rickroll

Rroll.to is a link shortener that's like bit.ly for fans of dusty internet memes

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A face you may or may not want to see when clicking on links.
A face you may or may not want to see when clicking on links.
Screenshot: Rick Astley

Rickrolling is a stately, venerated tradition. It’s an artifact of simpler times, when a solid internet meme could consist of simply tricking someone into accidentally opening up a video of a tidily dancing, deep-voiced ‘80s pop star. Rickrolling, in 2021, now seems quaint.

And yet, as evidenced by the existence of a Rickrolling link shortening site called Rroll.to—and the fact that “Never Gonna Give You Up” remains popular enough to have racked up more than a billion YouTube views)—there’s still enough life left in the old bait-and-switch to keep the internet invested in finding ways to use it to mildly annoy others.


Rroll.to can be summarized easily enough by its tagline: “Shorten a link, rickroll your friends.” The site allows users to enter a URL, accept or adjust a Rickrolling likelihood percentage from the default 50% to any other variable, then receive a shortened link that may or may not end up redirecting to a baritone pop star singing about love.

To test this, we’ve used the service to embed links to a few of The A.V. Club’s past Rick Astley stories. Like, for instance, this one about “Never Gonna Give You Up” being turned into the opening credits of an anime that never was. Or this one about Astley getting Rickrolled while posting on Reddit.


In order to make the shortened links more usable, the site promises not to maintain the odds of hitting a Rickroll every time the URL is clicked. “Once someone has been Rickrolled by a particular link,” the site explains, “they will not be Rickrolled by that link again during the same browser session if they click on it again.”

Thanks to this design choice, we believe that the era of link shortening services like bit.ly have reached their natural conclusion and that it’s time to adopt Rroll.to as the new standard.

[via Boing Boing]

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